GOALS programme launches the South Asia Knowledge Hub to promote safe, orderly, and regular migration in the region while safeguarding the dignity and rights of migrant workers

Inauguration address by Ms. Dagmar Walter, Director, DWT South Asia and India Country Office at the launch of the South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM), on behalf of ILO, IOM and UN Women.

Statement | New Delhi | 24 November 2021
Government representatives
Representative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Members of International Institute for Population Sciences
Representatives of academic institutions and think tanks
Distinguished migration experts
Colleagues from the UN
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to join you today. On behalf of the Joint UN Programme on Governance of Labour Migration in South and South East Asia – the GOALS programme (jointly implemented by IOM, UN Women and ILO), I welcome you all to this occasion – the launching of the “South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM)”.

Under the purview of the GOALS programme, we are delighted to support the establishment of the regional knowledge hub on migration. This initiative is particularly special because it connects national, regional and global platforms and networks to create an access point for sharing knowledge as well as building the necessary community of practice to tackle the challenges of labour migration in our region.

This marks another milestone in our endeavor to promote safe, orderly, and regular migration.

Over the past few months, the three UN agencies have worked closely with the partner institutions to lay the foundation for the Knowledge Hub. This represents a collaborative approach that lays the important groundwork for initiatives that will ensure improving the quality of information available for policy makers and other stakeholders.

I participated in the first meeting of the Knowledge Hub earlier in June this year, where we discussed and contemplated on the vision of SALAM, which we agreed upon would be: promoting, understanding, strengthening research, enhancing teaching and capacity building to formulate evidence-based policy with an aim to protect migrants’ rights and promote decent work for achieving integration of migration with sustainable development.

Embarking on this journey, I urge the partner institutions of SALAM to ground their work on international human and labour rights. We know that international labour standards are imperative for safeguarding the dignity and rights of migrant workers. Our endeavor should be on promoting labour standards and its benefits to ensure adequate protection for migrant workers.

SALAM should further ensure that labour migration policy recommendations are gender-responsive and align with the guiding principles of the Global Compact for Migration.

SALAM will implement a number of activities and outputs, including new research with gender-disaggregated data and statistics, capacity building, knowledge building and sharing, hosting a labour migration database and mentoring of young scholars. On top of this, one of the key outputs that we would like the Hub to achieve is a strong long-term partnership and collaboration on international labour migration in South Asia. For this to happen, member institutions of SALAM will need to be equally involved in the nurturing and promotion of this regional initiative.

I would like to reiterate that collective and equal ownership and institutional collaborations should be leveraged as a strategy going forward. Only collective effort and shared action will ensure continued viability of the Hub beyond the assistance of the GOALS programme.

As the representative of the UN agencies in this gathering, I would like to assure you that IOM, UN Women and ILO shall provide all the necessary support to guide the work of SALAM. We look forward to stronger institutional collaboration and coordination.

Before I end, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous commitment and financial support we have received from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation on our work on labour migration. Without their support, our enthusiastic project ideas could not have been realized. Thank you SDC.

And thank you all for your kind attention.